Church of England have updated their advice to parishes on closing and caring for church buildings during the pandemic to reflect current guidance and answer some additional questions. Version 2 includes a list of what has changed at the beginning. You can access the latest version on the CofE website by clicking on documents and selecting the relevant title, or scrolling to the appropriate FAQ. They recommend visiting the main Coronavirus advice page to see what other questions and materials have been added.
Updates received July 2020
Outdoor worship Here
Test and Trace
Church Buildings Council are aware that the Information Commissioners Office has published guidance on how information for NHS Test and Trace should be collected. They are reviewing this, including reference to the need for explicit consent (rather than using ‘legitimate interest’) because of the possibility that data could reveal religious affiliation, therefore making it special category data under GDPR regulations. Specialist staff in Church House are working through this with the ICO and MHCLG and they will produce updated guidance as soon as they can. For now, the government guidance outlines what information is needed – and collecting data is of course a recommendation rather than a command. HERE
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020: revised post HERE
Guidance on conducting public worship. This includes how to calculate capacity within social distancing measures and information on what the government guidance says about hygiene and issues such as music and singing. HERE
Guidance on legal questions on conducting public worship.HERE
Guidance on opening cathedral and church buildings. This is a significantly revised version of the previous ‘general access’ guidance and includes information on welcoming visitors and tourists, as well as on issues such as bell ringing, churchyards, bats and maintenance. HERE
An updated risk assessment template.HERE
Some of the previous guidance is also still relevant, namely:
Guidance on cleaning church buildings.
Guidance on access for contractors and construction, including a specific risk assessment.
There will be updates to guidance on weddings, funerals, baptisms, ordinations and confirmations coming out soon. As ever do check the CofE Coronavirus page for the latest FAQs and updates.
Updates June 2020:
Visit Britain launched ‘Good to Go’ on 25th June. This is a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark, in partnership with the national tourism organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening. It is a simple online survey which walks visitor attractions through a series of steps, such as having a completed a risk assessment and read relevant guidance. Once completed sites receive the official Good to Go logo to use online and on signage, and a toolkit to support re-opening. It is a free service. I signed the agreement needed to allow churches and cathedrals to be part of Good to Go if they wish. This means churches can identify they are part of the Church of England (which for these purposes is listed as an ‘industry body’) and will be notified if our official guidance changes. For churches and cathedrals which operate as tourist destinations I think this will help them welcome visitors back with safety and reassurance when they are ready to do so. You can find the survey and more information HERE
Places of worship: protective security funding scheme
As part of the Governments’ 2016-2020 Hate Crime Action Plan, Places of Worship can once again apply for funding to assist with their Protective Security. Applications are open now and closes on 9 August. Here
The Home Office has a £3.2 million fund to improve security at places of worship at risk from hate crime attacks and allows places of worship including churches and associated faith community centers to receive government funding to improve physical security. This can include more secure gates, locks, alarms and CCTV in order to deter and prevent hate crime attacks.
Fundraising during Covid-19
Ecclesiastical has launched a fundraising hub to support churches during Covid-19. The resources are aimed at supporting churches particularly at this time when COVID-19 brings additional fundraising challenges, although we will be updating and developing these resources further beyond this. There is also a helpline (03456 019959) for parishes to request a call back for any specific queries and these will be directed to the respective Church Insurance Consultant for the diocese.
Further guidance has been added to the Coronavirus page on the Church of England website.
Guidance on use of buildings for private prayer
Risk assessment template is now available as a word document
The government guidance for places of worship is published here.
Deep cleaning is not needed. The cleaning guidance has been updated to show that it is not necessary to deep clean before reopening your building. HERE
If your building has been closed and nobody has been in it for at least 72 hours, it is unlikely the virus is present. Your building will therefore not need to be disinfected for the virus. This includes fogging or misting treatments of biocidal solutions for disinfection. The contents of these treatments may adversely react with fixtures and fittings in the church building. Please see the Parish Risk Assessment document for more information on opening your church building.
Restricted church services in England from 4 July 2020 HERE
Historic England - Emergency Funding Available June 2020 HERE
June 2020 - Cleaning your Church with Resident Bats: A Post-lockdown Guide HERE
May 2020 - Towards Re-opening Church Buildings: Covid-19 Risk Assessment Checklist for Parish Churches - Version 1 HERE
Access during Lockdown v1 HERE
Advice for Clergy on access to closed buildings v3 HERE
Securing and caring for your church buildings during the Covid-19 pandemic: advice for incumbents, churchwardens and PCC members - Version 3 HERE
Ecclesiastical Insurance - Website
For your information Ecclesiastical have prepared guidance for Churches on how to manage Risk during Covid-19 that can be found on their website https://www.ecclesiastical.com/risk-management/managing-risk-covid-19/
More recently Ecclesiastical have also produced guidance on preparing for the increased risk of cyber-attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic https://www.ecclesiastical.com/risk-management/managing-risk-covid-19/cyber-security/
Grants news (May 2020)
The government emergency support funding for charities distributed via the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) is now open to applications HERE
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. NLCF will fund activities supporting people and communities affected by covid-19. They will also help organisations overcome any acute financial difficulties they face as a result of the pandemic.
There are three kinds of grants available:
Grants from £300 to £10,000
Grants from £10,000 to £100,000
Grants for organisations working in partnership, from £10,000 to £100,000
They are prioritising:
Organisations supporting people and communities who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the covid-19 crisis
Organisations providing services and support for vulnerable people, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the covid-19 crisis
Organisations which connect communities and support communities to work together to respond to covid-19
Places of worship are eligible and I hope will consider applying?
DAC main functions are to give advice on the architecture, archaeology, art and history of places of worship; the care and maintenance of church buildings and their contents; and the care and maintenance of churchyards.
For the most part, the DAC advises churchwardens, PCCs and clergy who are planning work to their churches, and advises the Chancellor whether or not a faculty should be granted. This advice is given on a voluntary basis by members of the Committee, supported by a team of consultants and advisers on specialised topics such as bells, brasses, clocks, lighting, organs and trees.
Caring for church buildings is a great challenge for churchwardens and PCCs. The DAC provides advice, support, and encouragement at all stages of projects, from initial thoughts, through fundraising and making a faculty application, to completion, whether it be quinquennial repairs, reordering, or a new extension, whether on a small or large scale. As well as producing guidance notes and other published material (see below), the DAC and its consultants are happy to visit parishes to offer their expertise and experience – the earlier in the process, the better.
DAC Design Awards Scheme
The DAC administers the Design Awards Scheme, which recognises excellence in design and craftsmanship, and to encourage the commissioning of individual designs rather than resorting to standard catalogue items. The scheme applies to everything which requires faculty consent, from small items such as candlesticks and light fittings, to stained glass, memorials, sculpture, paintings, furniture, etc., through to reordering schemes, whole building developments, cremated-remains areas in churchyards, or tree planting project
Enter the 2021 awards Please come back to this in October/November 2020 for access to awards scheme
If you prefer to submit hard copies through the post, down load application form - Click Here
DAC Application Form April 2020 Link
Risk Assessment of your church
- Historic England - Lightning Protection
- How to carry out Risk Assessment of your church - Ecclesiastical Insurance Link
- How to Use fire-risk-assessment-form - Ecclesiastical Insurance
- PDF - General Risk Assessment Form - Eccelesiastical Insurance
- Tower Beacon Guidance (The commemorations of the end of the First World War in 2018 has given rise to fresh interest in beacons on church towers. Ecclesiastical has revised its guidance on church tower beacons)
- Faculty Jurisdiction amendments due in April 2020
- A & B Lists (June 2020 edition) Please note works £10,000.00 + will not be considered under List B
- Additional Matters Order - To install Commonwealth War Graves Signage
- Agenda and Meeting Dates 2020
- Bats in Churches Partnership Project - Heritage Lottery fund
- Church Buildings Council Conservation (CBC) Grants
During lockdown the CBC staff team are all working from home and remain contactable using their usual contact details. CBC grants programme is still operating and will still provide casework and other advice as long as you keep asking. CBC will also continue to update their guidance for churches during lockdown.
- Church Buildings Council - Statement of Significance and Needs
- ChurchCare (CBC) Guidance Notes Including - Funding - Sources of Funding for Conservation Projects
- Charitable Grants for Churches
- Essex Police - Crime Prevention Strategy
- The DAC and the Faculty Process - Currently Under Revision
- DAC Constitution
- DAC Advisors and Consultants
- DAC Members
- The Changing Church - a guide to developing and adapting church buildings
- Redundant Organs guidance
- Useful Addresses e.g. Registry, SPAB, Historic England & Others
- The Faculty Jurisdiction Rules (Came into force 1st April 2020)
- National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund - The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The NLHF’s own FAQs have been amended so they reflect this. The Heritage Emergency Fund will be open for applications from 2pm on 15 April 2020 until 30 June 2020.
- A practical path to “net zero carbon” for our churches Notice of cosultation on definiation of net zero carbon. Following the climate debate in Synod in February there is a need for the church to define what it means by new zero. All Diocesan Secretaries have now received a consultation version of a document ‘Defining net zero’ and the consultation questions. You can consult them here. If you can engage with this and want to, please contact your diocesan secretary. No action is required at this time. The formal consultation will happen later in the year.
The following websites also contain useful information and advice:
- Ancients Monuments Society
- Church Care (Church Buildings Council)
- Ecclesiastical Insurance
- Historic England
- Historic England - Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund
- Essex County Council
- Friends of Essex Churches Trust
- Funds for Historic Buildings
- Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme
- Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) - Advice - Advice - Rafter Level Insulation - SPAB The Need for Old Buildings to 'Breathe' 2020 - SPAB Briefing_Energy efficiency
- Victorian Society
- Natural England
- Faith in Maintenance
- Building Conservation
- War Memorial Trust